Between his send-off in Gran Torino and conversations with empty chairs, Clint Eastwood's time in front of the camera appeared to be a thing of the past. But then the revered actor received another offer to play a crabby old man, and it was an offer he couldn't refuse.
Robert Lorenz, who was the first assistant director on many of Eastwood's movies since 1997's Absolute Power, makes his directorial debut with Trouble with the Curve, a baseball drama that appears to have been written for the sole purpose of saying Moneyball is full of sh*t.
Eastwood stars as Gus, an aging baseball scout whose antiquated ways are threatened by computer modeling, youth, and the fact that his eyesight is degrading. Gus is assigned to scout a potential #1 pick and soon discovers that his career may depend on his decision. He's joined by his reluctant daughter Mickey (Amy Adams), who knows just as much about baseball but is focused on other things. Justin Timberlake stars as her potential love interest.
Trouble with the Curve is a delightfully flighty romantic-drama-comedy that seems to relish in the fact that Lorenz managed to snag Clint Eastwood as his starring man. The movie, working off a script by first-time screenwriter Randy Brown, is predictable and forgettable, but it's predictably and forgetfully entertaining.
That's faint praise if you didn't notice.
Eastwood has his moments where he really shines, but much of the film he's left to look angry and growl, which was much more effective in Gran Torino where he had a shotgun. Adams is the best of the bunch, as she delivers a fun, cute, sexy and ultimately emotional performance. She and Timberlake share good chemistry with another, but Brown gives him nothing but a bunch of sometimes-funny-but-often-cheesy lines.
"Cheesy" is how the third act can best be described, too. While the arc between Gus and Mickey is resolved adequately, the rest of the story wraps up too cleanly, too obviously, to be regarded as anything but believable. I like feel-good endings, but Trouble with the Curve throws a fastball down the middle. It's just too damn easy.
Trouble with the Curve is mildly enjoyable, but it suffers from too many clichés and an eye-rolling climax. With a better screenplay and less pandering to "the good ol' days", the movie might have been something, but as is it doesn't offer a whole lot. Still, it's fun to watch Clint Eastwood growl at things.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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